Traders set out stall to improve market

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Sleaford traders have banded together to make a determined bid to boost their market’s fortunes.

The seven regular stall holders have become affiliated to the National Market Traders’ Federation (NMTF), which offers advice and backing to promote success.

And they have already come up with a barrow load of ideas to get them started.

The group is now recognised as the Sleaford branch since last week, with furniture trader Ian Johnson as its liaison officer.

“Let’s move forward and make the most of what we have got,” he urged.

Mr Johnson said the group wanted to support the Town Council’s business plan for galvanising the market, which it manages, and hope to be on board with other stakeholders including charter holder North Kesteven District Council in a working group due to meet for the first time in January.

This will discuss ways to revitalise the market as part of wider regeneration plans for the town centre.

The traders have been visited by experienced market manBrendan Dyson of the NMTF who said Sleaford had ‘a gem’ of a market setting.

But the lack of baker and butcher stalls and the need for safer pedestrian access across the road from the Bristol Arcade were highlighted as areas for improvement.

Mr Johnson wants to help attract more traders to build a greater customer offer.

Among ideas being put forward is working with local schools to be part of the National Youth Market.

Mr Johnson said the Market Place also had the potential to become a ‘community hub’ where High Street retailers hire a stall to help promote their business, along with local services, hobby and interest groups and clubs which could offer demonstrations.

He also said it could offer a point of information on social needs, health and nutrition, and combating loneliness and isolation with a ‘befriending’ initiative.

Other suggestions by traders to attract more stall holders include toilet facilities, access to a power supply, a free trading incentive for new applicants, charity stall, European stalls and a fund for promotional events.

Alan Gray, North Kesteven District Council economic development manager, told The Standard: “A dedicated group would allow us to understand what role the market might play in the delivery of the council’s economic objectives in the town centre - increasing footfall and encouraging shoppers to stay in the centre.”

l What do you think needs to be done to the market? Email andy.hubbert@jpress.co.uk